Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hawaii expects calm storm season, slow economic growth, no tax increases in Kauai, Hawaii counties, Abercrombie moves in,Obama birth certificate on shirt, mug, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Obama birth certificate shirt, mug
You have seen President Barack Obama's Hawaii birth certificate. Now you can wear it. Associated Press.

Governor Neil Abercrombie and his wife moved into their official residence “earlier this month” after spending some $40,000 on repairs and maintenance of the eight-year-old home, his office said. Hawaii Reporter.

Survey: Hawaii's Most and Least Effective Lawmakers. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's new appointed Board of Education says it wants one diploma for high school graduates, not two separate tracks that the previous elected board approved last month. Associated Press.

Forecasters with the Central Pacific Hurricane Center are expecting a below average number of tropical cyclones to form in the Central Pacific this season. KITV4.

Hurricane Preparedness Week begins Sunday… in anticipation of the official start of the Season, June 1st. Hawaii Public Radio.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest demographic profile of the state, Hawaii is looking a little older, a tad whiter, perhaps a bit lonelier. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s economic growth is expected to slow but not stop, and be even stronger in 2012, according to a report issued Wednesday by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's job market is on pace to grow this year for the first time since 2007 and the visitor industry is expected to post solid gains despite a drop in Japanese tourists, according to an upbeat economic forecast the state released yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Emerging from the depths of a bad economy, more than 160 employers -- looking not to trim, but to expand their workforce -- greeted some 7,000 job seekers at the Neal Blaisdell Center Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Some service groups are refusing to heed Gov. Neil Abercrombie's plea to stop feeding Oahu's homeless people in parks and beaches, while others are torn about how to proceed. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii County Council on Wednesday slashed the West Hawaii golf subsidy, dipped into the open space and rainy day funds and cut overtime in order to bolster retirees' future health care while sparing the county bands and Hilo Municipal Golf Course. West Hawaii Today.

A last-minute amendment to the county’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012 would have increased real property taxes for hotels and resorts, but the Kaua‘i County Council’s Committee of the Whole voted to keep the status quo. Garden Island.

Maui County is seeking contractors to install more than 1,000 solar panels on rooftops of county buildings to save the government money. Maui News.

A team of University of Hawaii electrical engineering graduate students has placed second at a miniature robots competition in Shanghai, China. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Police Department is upgrading its motorcycles. KHON2.

People will go to great lengths to try to get their hands on a few dollars worth of copper, but they could be costing themselves and the environment much more. Hawaii News Now.

Space jockey lands in Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oahu taxes going up, Hawaii bureaucracy bloats, bond rating falls, don't feed the homeless, Hawaii council kills bus fares, Maui Memorial pays $1.2 million renting empty building, Ka'u land eyed for development, more news from all the islands

Honolulu homeless (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

Governor Abercrombie unveiled a 90-day plan to tackle the homeless problem, and it includes discouraging feeding people in parks or other public places. KHON2.

The Abercrombie administration gave itself 90 days yesterday to achieve a marked improvement in clearing homeless people from streets, beaches and parks in Waikiki and the rest of Honolulu's urban core. Star-Advertiser.

Governor Neil Abercrombie established citizen call-in numbers to identify, locate and provide assistance to homeless people in need last month. Hawaii Public Radio.

Only two of Hawaii's 20 state departments will have smaller operating budgets come July 1. The rest are growing — one by as much as 94 percent. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s “strained” state financial operations, the depletion of reserves in fiscal year 2011, and covering budget shortfalls with one time solutions – these are the factors that Moody’s Investors Services used when downgrading Hawaii’s General Obligation Bond Rating for an estimated $5.1 billion in debt. Hawaii Reporter.

The cost of living for Oahu residents is likely to increase dramatically after the Honolulu City Council’s Budget Committee approved a property tax hike as well as a bevy of user fee increases. KHON2.

A Honolulu City Council committee on Tuesday approved for final vote of a residential tax rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of value. KITV4.

Looking to make a high priority of fixing Oahu's crumbling roads, the City Council Budget Committee restored $32 million to the mayor's construction project budget for roads yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

A deadlocked County Council on Tuesday put the brakes on a planned $1 bus fare, one of the moneymakers in Mayor Billy Kenoi's proposed budget. West Hawaii Today.

For more than two years, Maui Memorial Medical Center has been paying $600,000 per year to rent a 20,000-square-foot empty building next to the Kaiser Maui Lani Clinic on Maui Lani Parkway. Maui News.

The Hawaii County Band, open space land fund, golf programs, legislative auditor and various county operations are in the crosshairs of County Council members, who are scheduled to vote today on more than $12 million in cuts to the annual budget submitted by Mayor Billy Kenoi. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Peter Carlisle would veto budget proposals for the planned rail transit authority that give the City Council final say on any spending decisions by the semiautonomous board, the administration said yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Citing a possible conflict of interest, Kaua‘i County Councilman Dickie Chang has recused himself from voting on funds for the next two editions of the Kaua‘i Marathon. Garden Island.

Unity House Inc. received approval Tuesday from a Hawaii bankruptcy court judge to sell its Lotus at Diamond Head Hotel to Nobuka USA Inc. for $18.5 million. Pacific Business News.

The developer of a proposed 12,000-unit housing project in West Oahu will try again to win approval to move ahead with its plan. KITV4.

Tension resulting from local politics allegedly resulted in physical violence yesterday between an opponent and supporter of the Envision Laie development. Hawaii Independent.

Hawaii County has moved a step closer toward buying 27 acres of pristine Puna coastline. Tribune-Herald.

Kahuku land that was the center of an eight-year battle before the Land Use Commission as the proposed Hawaiian Riviera Resort is again being moved forward for development. West Hawaii Today.

The state this week expects to announce a partnership with federal agencies to help landowners and managers protect forest lands. Associated Press.

A record number of 15 students graduated from the University of Hawaii's law school with a Native Hawaiian Law Certificate this week. Associated Press.

Several weeks after the deal was made for UH Maui College-Molokai to purchase neighboring land from Molokai Properties Ltd., Governor Neil Abercrombie has released the funds to complete the acquisition. Molokai Dispatch.

Two people died when an light sport aircraft crashed off the North Shore of Kauai at about 10:53 a.m. Tuesday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Hawaii News Now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hawaii unions powerful, Honolulu mayor popular, health insurers profitable, no more money for nurses, new garbage trucks idle, overlooked utility poles make for pricey contract, Kauai gets federal seabird permit, more Hawaii news

Hawaii coastline (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The Legacy Lands Conservation Program has awarded four grants totaling $4.5 million to protect lands on Oahu and the Big Island. Pacific Business News

The two largest health insurance companies in Hawaii rebounded in the first quarter to post their highest profits in at least three years due to rate increases and improved investments that helped boost earnings. Star-Advertiser.

Most voters believe labor unions have the strongest influence on the state's elected officials, a new Hawaii Poll shows, although Democrats are less likely to have that opinion than Republicans and independents. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said the state cannot agree to pay more money to Maui Memorial Medical Center nurses because it is in a "fiscal crisis." Maui News.

Not a single steel rail has been laid for the Honolulu transit system and costs are already escalating. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii County is paying $229,000 to a construction contractor after a second engineering consultant failed to include utility pole relocation in the original project design. West Hawaii Today.

As wind company Pattern Energy moves forward with plans to develop on Molokai, First Wind, a company that had been in discussion with the community for several years, is not giving up without a fight. Molokai Dispatch.

It’s a matter of disclosure, practicality, and fairness—none of which Friends of Lanai say applies to the State’s Big Wind proposal. Hawaii Independent.

Reflections on leadership — and lack of it — in the 2011 session. Civil Beat.

New city garbage trucks collecting dust. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii County Council majority made clear Monday its displeasure with a $199,950 consultant contract comparing Hilo landfill expansion costs to trucking garbage to Puuanahulu. West Hawaii Today.

New polling data released yesterday shows Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle with a job approval rating of 64 percent, while 60 percent of those polled have a favorable opinion of him. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu mayor Peter Carlisle is busy dealing with rail critics and budgets woes, but his approval rating is still high after seven months on the job. Star-Advertiser.

Both deputy chiefs in the Honolulu Police Department will step down from their posts at the end of the month, the two men said last night. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu had one of the highest inflation rates in the nation last year, but economists say rising costs won't threaten the state's economic recovery. Associated Press.

It was a ground-breaking ceremony many believed was long overdue.  A memorial honoring Hawaii's law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. KHON2.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative a green light to “take” a certain number of endangered seabirds annually so long as the co-op adheres to its federally approved habitat conservation plan. Garden Island.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a dispute over whether to identify students challenging a private school system's admissions policy that gives preference to those of Hawaiian ancestry.Associated Press.

Many Aiea residents got their first look at a major development in the middle of their community. KITV4.

West Hawaii's four council districts accounted for 76.8 percent of property values this year, up slightly from last year as property values countywide dipped 4.4 percent. West Hawaii Today.

Kaua‘i County Councilman KipuKai Kuali‘i responded Monday to some community concerns over a possible conflict of interest stemming from his participation in a certain departmental budget review meeting last month. Garden Island.

Never, ever expect gratitude is what Gov. Neil Abercrombie told University of Hawaii Maui College graduates on Sunday. Maui News.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Kamehameha Schools opponents must be public, Hawaii 2012 politics show Hirono, Case, Lingle leaders, Abercrombie popularity 50%, rail transit pricey, state to buy more land for preservation, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. Neil Abercrombie (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A new Hawaii Poll shows 50 percent of registered voters approve of the job that Neil Abercrombie is doing as governor, much lower than his predecessor at the same point in office, and a reflection of the difficulty Abercrombie has had in pushing his agenda forward. Hawaii News Now.

Former congressman Ed Case and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono are tied in a hypothetical matchup in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, a new Hawaii Poll shows. Star-Advertiser.

Out of nine public figures and possible political candidates, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono garnered the highest favorable ratings in the Hawaii News Now/Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll. Hawaii News Now.

Former Gov. Linda Lingle told fellow Hawaii Republicans at the party's convention in Kauai over the weekend that she would decide by the end of August whether to run for the U.S. Senate next year. Civil Beat.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a dispute over whether students challenging a private Hawaiian school system's admissions policy must be identified. Associated Press.

The first female soldier enlisted in the Hawaii Army National Guard 38 years ago … but it was only this year that a woman was promoted to General. Hawaii Public Radio.

Recently proposed Medicaid qualification standards would leave around 4,500 without health insurance around Hawaii. Molokai Dispatch.

Homeowners have a fighting chance with foreclosure law. Maui News.

Act 48 suspends nonjudicial foreclosures in Hawaii and creates a mortgage foreclosure dispute resolution program administered by the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Office of Administrative Hearings. Associated Press.

After concluding a grueling legislative session of tax raising and budget cutting, Hawaii lawmakers may find that their work is not yet done. Associated Press.

The state's Legacy Lands Conservation program is providing $4.5 million in grants for the purchase and protection of culturally and agriculturally important lands on the Big Island and Oahu. Associated Press.

The state plans to open a new H-1 freeway on-ramp and an off-ramp this week that are expected to remove traffic bottlenecks around some large shopping centers in Kapolei. KITV4.

The state Department of Transportation will not reopen the temporary Kapa‘a bypass road for another week as recent rainstorms have delayed resurfacing work. Garden Island.

While about half of Honolulu residents remain in favor of completing the rail transit system, nearly 9 in 10 agree the project is likely to cost more than the $5.3 billion estimated price tag. Star-Advertiser.

The price tag for preparation of the Honolulu rapid transit project’s environmental impact statement was originally $86 million but has since bulged to $156 million, a City spokesman confirmed today. Hawaii Reporter.

A bike rental program to promote an active lifestyle and reduce traffic will officially launch on Friday in Kailua. Star-Advertiser.

It would be a stretch to say that Hawaii’s renewable energy companies, the utilities and the public are moving together in harmony toward a clean energy future. Pacific Business News

A milestone in Manoa -- a special graduation ceremony. Thousands turned their tassels at the University of Hawaii's 100th commencement ceremonies. KITV4.

Mostly dry trade wind weather will prevail for the next several days, with brief showers favoring windward areas during nights and mornings. KHON2.

If you received your motor vehicle registration reminder notice in the mail this month, you might have noticed that the form looks different. Tribune-Herald.

Ka'u is well on the way of making a name for itself in the coffee industry on an island for many decades known primarily for its Kona-grown coffee. West Hawaii Today.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Waikiki Beach to be widened, new Disney resort to boost economy, state rep. fined for late finance reports, rail stirs council debate, another lawsuit, Big Island tackles redistricting, more Hawaii news

Waikiki sand (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

A $2.5 million project to replenish the sand along a 1,700-foot shoreline of Waikiki Beach is finally set for completion by the first quarter of next year. Star-Advertiser.

The Magical world of Disney is coming to Ko Olina and this summer the Aulani Resort will officially welcome guests.KHON2.

The Walt Disney Co. plans to hire through the next six weeks most of the 800 workers needed for its much-anticipated Aulani Resort in West Oahu, providing a needed boost to the state's anemic job market. Star-Advertiser.

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, will be among more than 140 employers meeting with job candidates at the WorkForce 2011 job fair on May 18. Pacific Business News

A sea of people wearing green “Keep the country country” shirts flooded last night’s Koolauloa North Shore Alliance’s Talk Story 3, regarding the future of Turtle Bay Resort, where a proposal to increase its current size of 500 hotel and condo units to 4,000 units—five new hotels and 1,000 luxury condominiums have been planned. Hawaii Independent.

State Rep. Mele Carroll has been fined $2,608 by the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission for the late filing of her 2010 election finance reports. Maui News.

When new retirement rules kick in next summer, state and county employees will have to work four extra years to earn a similar pension they would get under current rules. Civil Beat.

The last bales of trash at the Hawaiian Waste Systems facility in Campbell Industrial Park has been removed and delivered to a City waste disposal facility, according to the city. Hawaii News Now.

Challenging assumptions that the general excise tax surcharge and federal funds would be adequate to support the $5.3 billion rail transit system, City Council members pressed the city administration on proposed backup plans to pay for the system without tapping general fund money. Star-Advertiser.

A complaint has been filed in federal court seeking an injunction to halt Oahu's rail transit project. KITV4.

Hawaii's statewide campaign to raise funds for the survivors of the Japan earthquake and tsunamis has reached $6 million in donations. Associated Press.

The average price of gas in Hawaii dropped this week but continues to be the most expensive in the nation. Associated Press.

The annual Kaua‘i Marathon has generated over $5 million to the local economy in its first two years, according to organizers. But the event has yet to make a profit, and organizers have come before the County Council asking for substantial subsidies to keep the marathon running. Garden Island.

A Honolulu police officer implicated in an overtime abuse investigation has been found not guilty. KHON2.

A new law mandating how County Council districts are drawn almost ensures that Hilo will lose one of its three council seats, Puna will gain at least one additional seat and lines along the Kona coast will move significantly.  West Hawaii Today.

A University of Hawaii professor has won an award for outstanding national contribution to school librarianship. Associated Press.

Of the 2,800 known sex offenders currently living in Hawaii, around 650 of them are behind bars. Hawaii News Now.

The Ups and Downs of Traditional Hawaiian Fishponds. Molokai Dispatch.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has appointed the county's Deputy Planning Director Michele Chouteau McLean as the chairwoman of the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission, the county announced Thursday afternoon. Maui News.

Move over Mt. Waialeale. Hawaii has a new "wettest spot" in the islands. KITV4.

A proposal to review Hawaii County's real property tax structure comes before the County Council's Finance Committee Monday morning. West Hawaii Today.

In response to the high volume of requests for changes and clarification, county officials have extended the deadline to May 31 for property owners to make changes to their residential refuse collection assessment. Garden Island.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hawaii cuts Medicaid rolls, Honolulu liquor employee outs undercover investigators, GOP strikes out in legislative session, fight over home for Poseidons, affordable housing in crosshairs, more news

Honolulu housing (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
After years of talking about it, the city of Honolulu is working to put all its affordable housing projects up for sale. KITV4.

Renting a two-bedroom apartment on the Big Island requires a person earn at least $22 an hour, however, many renters here make less than half that, according to a study recently released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. West Hawaii Today.

About 4,500 Hawaii residents will be cut from government-funded health services, and most remaining on Medicaid rolls will receive reduced services beginning Jan. 1, the state Department of Human Services announced yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

The state on Tuesday announced cuts in Medicaid benefits that will affect many low-income residents in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Governor Neil Abercrombie addressed a statewide teleconference today on his plan to cut skyrocketing Medicaid costs. Hawaii Public Radio.

Costs for long-term care in Hawaii continue to outpace the national rate in some cases by more than 50 percent, according to the latest survey by Genworth Financial Inc. Star-Advertiser.

Liquor Commission Staffer Posts Photos Of Undercover Investigators Online. KITV4.

No bill — zero, zip, nada — introduced by a GOP lawmaker passed in the 2011 session. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has denied a petition from the nonprofit Friends of Lanai that sought to intervene in the proceedings involving the Big Wind project. Pacific Business News

Four years and more than a quarter of a million immunizations later, the successful Stop Flu at School program faces an uncertain future due to shrinking state and federal dollars. KHON2.

A county commissioner from Washington state has mounted a campaign to secure Navy P-8A Poseidon sub-hunting aircraft for her state by claiming that Kaneohe Bay — where 18 of the jets are planned to be based — has a runway that's too short for fully fueled and loaded Poseidons to take off. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is still a target: New S.T.A.R.T. Treaty a small step toward nuclear disarmament. Hawaii Independent.

The University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine is facing a money emergency. In July it loses $4 million in state tobacco settlement funds because of funding cuts. Hawaii News Now.

For four years, the fate of the historic Kapaia Swinging Bridge has been up in the air as the deteriorating bridge itself sags into the very ravine it traverses. Garden Island.

Members of the Maui County Charter Commission were sworn in Monday, kicking off what's expected to be an intense 16-month process to propose major changes to how the county operates. Maui News.

The planned expenditure deferrals Mayor Billy Kenoi is using to balance next year's county budget are County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong's top concern. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Kai, an upper-middle class community in East Oahu bordered by a spectacular turquoise ocean and stunning emerald mountains and valleys, is built around a private marina that spans from the valley to the ocean. Hawaii Reporter.

Federal officials have prepared a plan to manage a 38,000-acre wildlife refuge on the slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa that is home to endangered Hawaiian forest birds. Associated Press.

A Hilo-based tour operator could be fined at least $15,000 for allegedly performing unpermitted construction on conservation land located along Honolii Stream. Tribune-Herald.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hawaii unusually rainy, state prepares presidential library bid, APEC conference, Honolulu considers distracted cross-walking ban, Abercrombie bats .500, Big Island radio stations on auction block, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

President Obama, White House photo
A team of University of Hawaii, state and private business leaders have begun a campaign to bring the Barack Obama Presidential Library to Kakaako, near the waters of Point Panic. KITV4.

Less than a week after breaking two ribs in a fall at his Virginia home, U.S. Sen. Dan Akaka was back at work Monday in Washington D.C. KHON2.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference will put Hawaii on an international stage in November, and officials here want to make sure Waikiki's seedier side doesn't hog the spotlight. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Legislature has rejected many of new Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposals on taxes, security funding for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and restoration of government services. Associated Press.

Of the 107 bills introduced by Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration, 59 managed to pass the Legislature. That works out to a 55-percent success rate. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Legislature this year failed to pay $2.67 million in legal settlements to people brutalized by crime, mangled in car crashes and victimized by bureaucratic indifference. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii has received 126 percent more rain than normal this year … and national weather service forecasters are predicting more of the same until mid-summer. Hawaii Public Radio.

A flash-flood watch for Maui County has been extended through Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service said Monday. Maui News.

Heavy rainfall from the weekend and Monday closed one school and a bridge, made traffic conditions less than ideal and is believed to have broken a pipeline in Hanapepe. Garden Island.

The median price for previously owned single-family homes sold on Oahu rose for the first time this year with a slight gain in April, though the number of sales fell sharply. Star-Advertiser.

JAL: Golden Week visitors to Hawaii down 41.7%. Pacific Business News

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi has sponsored a measure (Bill 43) that would make it illegal to use a cell phone or other electronic device while crossing the road. KHON2.

As rain wreaks havoc by opening up countless potholes on Oahu streets, the City and County of Honolulu is considering acquisition of a new "pothole patrol" vehicle that would improve productivity and result in longer lasting pothole patches. Hawaii News Now.

The City Council is poised to eliminate a decades-old subsidy that supports recycling by private companies and nonprofits at a cost of about $2 million a year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong is not happy with the outcome so far from the state and counties collective bargaining with government employee unions and he's proposing an alternative for county workers under council jurisdiction. West Hawaii Today.

Three radio stations, owned by Parrott Broadcasting, are up for auction this month. West Hawaii Today.

The Kauai County Council has denied a former state archaeologist a seat on the Kauai Historic Preservation Committee after emotional testimony that she has been insensitive to Hawaiian traditions and has not followed the law. Garden Island.

A Hilo-based tour operator could be fined at least $15,000 for allegedly performing unpermitted construction on conservation land located along Honolii Stream. Tribune-Herald.

Twelve years after Hawaii County officials passed an ordinance supporting a new North Kona fire station and several potential sites for the station later, Fire Department officials broke ground Monday morning. West Hawaii Today.

7-Eleven expects to add 46 Hawaii locations over five years, almost doubling the convenience store's presence across the state. KITV4.

A woman who wound up homeless in Hawaii will head back to Texas with her mother on Tuesday. Yughette Baker's free plane ticket was a gift from strangers. Hawaii News Now.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hawaii storms wreak havoc, school days cut, Maui budget cuts mayor's big increases, Samoa leaving island time, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Unsettled weather with locally heavy rains and the threat for thunderstorms will continue over the islands through Tuesday. KHON2.

Flash flood warnings persisted into Sunday evening as heavy showers lingered over most of the Garden Isle, forcing the closure of the Hanalei Bridge and impacting Mother’s Day events. Garden Island.

Kainaliu businesses and nonprofits spent Saturday cleaning up inches of water and mud that filled their stores during heavy rains on Friday. West Hawaii Today.

Many people dream about retiring and enjoying their golden years, but a growing number of Hawaii seniors must work longer or come out of retirement just to make ends meet. Hawaii News Now.

Some relief from suffocating gas prices will likely arrive just in time for summer vacation. Expect a drop of nearly 50 cents as early as June, analysts say. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law yesterday Senate Bill 651, the Legislature’s comprehensive response to the foreclosure issue facing Hawaii families. Hawaii Independent.

For the last three years, the Hawai’i State Center for Nursing has been leading a project that uses the expertise of nurses to improve patient care. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Legislature did not pass a $2 million budget request for security expenses related to the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference, but officials of Gov. Abercrombie’s administration are refusing all comment about the issue. Hawaii Reporter.

With a new chairman at the Hawaiian Homes Commission, officials are taking a fresh look at ways to provide homes or homestead lots to the nearly 21,000 people on the residential waiting list. Star-Advertiser.

The amount of instructional time offered at elementary schools statewide varies widely —from 41⁄3 to six hours on average each day — but there appears to be no correlation between campuses with shorter school days and those meeting annual learning benchmarks, new state data show. Star-Advertiser.

More public schools throughout Hawaii are dropping traditional summer sessions from their schedule. Associated Press.

$1.2 million UHH telescope still not working. Tribune-Herald.

Maui County Council members reached an agreement late Friday night on a budget that would cut Mayor Alan Arakawa's spending request for 2012 by almost 11 percent. Maui News.

Today council members will be back in their seats at chambers in Nawiliwili to review Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s supplemental budget, submitted Thursday. Garden Island.

A newly discovered mineral has been named krotite in honor of University of Hawaii at Manoa researcher Alexander N. Krot. Associated Press.

Traffic relief is on the way for people who drive through Makakilo. KHON2.

Veterans Affairs officials are independently evaluating radiation levels at their Hilo outpatient clinic. Tribune-Herald.

The state Legislature has bailed out a proposed Ka'u biofuel project after the Public Utilities Commission ruled Hawaii Electric Light Co. couldn't spread a rate hike over customers on other islands to help pay for it. West Hawaii Today.

Century-old seawalls along the Gold Coast on Oahu's southern shore are breaking down, and nobody wants to step up and fix them. Civil Beat.

Samoa plans to leap 24 hours into the future, erasing a day and putting a new kink in the Pacific's jagged international date line so that it can be on the same weekday as Australia, New Zealand and eastern Asia. Associated Press.

Earlier this week, Aqua Hotels & Resorts announced it would offer a special discount to guests who produce their birth certificates upon check-in at one of the chain’s hotels on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Molokai. Pacific Business News

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hawaii legislative session pau, U.S. Sen. Akaka breaks ribs in fall, Kau coffee among world's best, F-22 Raptors in stand down, Big Island bans barking dogs, county budgets moving, dengue fever done, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Legislature (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
The state House and Senate adjourned yesterday after understated floor sessions to complete work on a handful of bills, but several lawmakers hinted they might have to return this summer for unfinished business. Star-Advertiser.

The 2011 legislative session wrapped up today, but lawmakers say a special session could be in their future. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers gave us civil unions, gender equity protection in employment, an appointed Board of Education, a mortgage foreclosure mediation process, a restructured Employees' Retirement System and recognition of Native Hawaiians. Civil Beat.

Legislators closed their 2011 session today by passing a legally questionable bill that extends pay cuts for themselves and other state executives. Hawaii Reporter.

The 26th State Legislature adjourned yesterday … and passed 250 of the more than 3-thousand bills introduced at the beginning of the session. Hawaii Public Radio.

One bill that came down to the last day focused on a five percent pay cut for judges, the governor and lawmakers themselves. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a bill overhauling the state's foreclosure laws. Associated Press.

A proposal to end Medicare Part B reimbursements for retired Hawaii government employees isn't becoming law this year. Associated Press.

To borrow a term from the world of gaming, there was a lot of "action" over gambling bills at the state legislature this year. Hawaii News Now.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka is recovering after breaking two ribs Monday night when he slipped and fell at his home in Alexandria, Va., his deputy communications director, Jesse Broder Van Dyke, said yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Pahala resident Bull Kailiawa doesn't drink it. Still, he and his family know how to produce an award-winning coffee -- consistently. West Hawaii Today.

The US Air Force announced late Thursday that all of the nation's F-22 Raptors have been grounded. The stand-down was ordered Tuesday, but is just now public. KITV4.

Hawaii hotels’ average occupancy rate was 60.7 percent for the week ending April 30, down 2.1 percentage points compared to the same week in 2010. Pacific Business News

Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services says a $300 million project to expand the city's waste-to-energy plant is halfway finished. Associated Press.

Bolstered by an economic picture slightly less bleak than first expected, Mayor Billy Kenoi on Thursday released a revised budget that's $1.1 million more than his preliminary spending package released in March. West Hawaii Today.

The Kaua‘i County Council’s Committee of the Whole last week finished initial reviews on Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012, including Capital Improvement Projects. Garden Island.

A bill intended to resolve noisy-dog complaints with minimal police assistance is heading to Mayor Billy Kenoi's desk. Tribune-Herald.

Dr. Neal Palafox, who was asked by the governor to give up the state health director nomination in January, has now stepped down as lead administrative director and chairman of the Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law yesterday a bill that increases the fee on the net weight of imported freight. Hawaii Independent.

Dengue fever is done on Maui - and across Hawaii - at least for the moment, state health officials said Wednesday. Maui News.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hawaii car owners facing hit, freight tax going up, Big Island adds bus fare, public workers to get less sweet retirement deal, Honolulu rail nears bond float, tsunami sirens to become zoning requirement, Kauai sewer rates to rise, Thai labor contractor admits trafficking, oil from algae, more news

Hawaii driving (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
When proposed increases of vehicle registration fees and weight taxes kick in next year, a Honda Civic owner will pay $46.76 more for the 2,672-pound car's annual sticker. Star-Advertiser.

Proposals to begin taxing online shopping won't become law in Hawaii this year. Associated Press.

Tax on the net weight of imported freight will increase 50 percent to fund 15 of 22 agriculture inspector positions the Legislature helped restore last year, said Rep. Clift Tsuji, Chair of the House Agriculture Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Several state agencies will be putting "help wanted" signs out for new employees, thanks to the new state budget approved Monday by House and Senate. KITV4.

New Hawaii government employees will work more years, contribute higher amounts toward their pensions and get paid less after retirement, according to sweeping proposed changes to the state's underfunded pension system. Associated Press.

A final vote on the bill affecting top executive, judicial and legislative branch salaries is set for Thursday. Hawaii News Now.

Nearly a third of the state's $2.9 billion in spending on construction projects over the next two years will go to harbors and highways. Civil Beat.

A state lawyer has laid out for the first time Gov. Neil Abercrombie's legal arguments for refusing to disclose the names of judicial candidates, saying the governor cannot be required to do so unless ordered to by a state judge. Star-Advertiser.

State energy office scrambling for funds. Pacific Business News.

From cockfights in remote and guarded locations to game rooms raided in the heart of urban Honolulu to sports betting through the Internet that hits a fever pitch during the football season, illegal gambling maintains a foothold in the 50th state. Hawaii News Now.

High fuel prices are affecting operations at The Bus, where officials expect to go nearly $1 million over their fuel budget this year. KITV4.

The Honolulu City Council is considering granting permission to float $2 billion in bonds to pay for initial rail contracts. Hawaii Independent.

The late disclosure of a gift the city received from a rail contractor drew criticism from City Council members in a Transportation Committee meeting Wednesday afternoon. It's the latest in a series of complaints from council members about a lack of transparency about the city's polarizing $5.3 billion rail project. Civil Beat.

The City and County of Honolulu purchased its first property last month to make way for the $5.3 billion rail system from East Kapolei to Ala Moana.. KHON2.

County Council members Wednesday approved Mayor Billy Kenoi's proposed bus fares. West Hawaii Today.

The county's current emergency services radio system must be replaced, Maui police officials said, in a project expected to cost more than $16 million only to begin the system's total overhaul. Maui News.

Kauai County sewer rates are to rise incrementally over the next four years starting in July. Associated Press.

The Windward Planning Commission on Wednesday gave unanimous approval to a measure requiring developers to provide emergency warning sirens in order to rezone property. West Hawaii Today.

A Hawaii bio-fuel company is to receive more than $5.5 million from the federal government to produce affordable animal feed from marine algae. Associated Press.

Cellana Inc. said it has begun producing oil from algae grown at its Kona facility and is on track to begin commercial production by 2014. Star-Advertiser.

Shane Germann stood before Hawaii’s U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway on Wednesday, May 4, remorsefully reciting details of crimes he committed in Hawaii between May 2003 and February 2006 as the on site manager and regional supervisor for the California-based labor recruiter, Global Horizons Manpower Inc. Hawaii Reporter.

When it comes to an easy to grow fruit in Hawaii, guava tops them all. Molokai Dispatch.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will begin construction of road and parking improvements at Waimea Canyon State Park lookout on Monday. Garden Island.

The Office of Mauna Kea Management is taking the first steps toward establishing administrative rules for the summit region of Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hawaii budget hikes taxes, erodes reserves, 12% on food stamps, most expensive state to rent, Hilo VA workers exposed to radiation, Kauai seed companies nicked for grubbing violations, HPD OT for Obama hits $228,247, more news from the Hawaiian Islands

Moana Surfrider (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
Waikiki Hotel Plan Caught In Honolulu's Tangled Web. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Legislature is passing more than $600 million worth of tax increases on businesses, vehicles and personal income. Associated Press.

After months of number crunching and heated debate, lawmakers passed a two-year state budget on Tuesday. They also voted on more than 100 bills. Hawaii News Now.

The state House and Senate sent Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday a balanced budget and financial plan with some cushion to close a projected $1.3 billion deficit, but lawmakers have left little in reserve if the economy stagnates further. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers passed the state budget today … with a unanimous vote in the House and a 24-to-one vote in the Senate.Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lawmakers just balanced the budget. But a class action lawsuit could cost the state $70 million more that legislators didn't account for. Civil Beat.

The state Senate began voting on more than 100 new laws Tuesday morning, with a budget that received mixed reviews, even from its authors. KITV4.

Legislation that starts the process for native Hawaiians to form their own government is heading to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his approval. Associated Press.

David Louie has been confirmed as Hawaii's attorney general, the last of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's Cabinet appointees to be seated. Associated Press.

A bill that partially delays implementation of a law to lengthen Hawaii’s school day is headed to the governor’s desk after passing both chambers of the state Legislature yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department spent $228,247 on overtime pay during President Barack Obama’s most recent nearly two week visit to Oahu over the Christmas and New Years holiday. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii once again has the most expensive rental housing in the nation. KHON2.

More Hawaii residents use food stamps today than a year ago - almost 12 percent of the population - and even that is below the national average, federal statistics show. Hawaii News Now.

The state Department of Health said a successful flu immunization program in Hawaii's schools is in jeopardy. KITV4.

Workers in the Hilo veterans outpatient clinic may have been exposed to radiation over the last six years due to insufficient shielding of a radiation therapy machine located in the downstairs oncology clinic. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the state Historic Preservation Division have announced the appointment of a new architecture branch chief. Associated Press.

A state prison inmate whose beating at Halawa Correctional Facility was captured by a prison surveillance camera is suing the state and the three prison guards who were fired for beating him. Star-Advertiser.

In response to community concerns, the county has issued multiple notices of violation to two South Shore seed companies for non-permitted grubbing activities in November and December. Garden Island.

Mayor Peter Carlisle today signed into law Bill 61 (2010) CD 2, which revises and updates the City’s North Shore Sustainable Communities Plan that covers lands north of Wahiawa, from Kaena Point to Kawela Bay. Hawaii Independent.

County Council members are looking at making deep cuts to the county budget proposed earlier this year by Mayor Alan Arakawa. Maui News.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative announced Tuesday that it has received a petition that calls for a member vote on a decision made by the cooperative’s board of directors. Pacific Business News

The Hawaii County Housing Agency took a step toward eliminating cash payments as a way for developers to earn affordable housing credits. West Hawaii Today.

Molokai's own Capt. Clay Ching of Hallelujah Hou Fishing has been featured on the TV program, Hawaii Goes Fishing. Molokai Dispatch.

The United States Department of Agriculture is reminding farmers, ranchers and forest landowners that May 27 is the last day to submit project area proposals for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Garden Island.

While the eyes of Hawaii were on Hilo and the Merrie Monarch Festival, a group of 10 Hilo High School students were on the mainland making Hilo proud. Tribune-Herald.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Birthers don't back down, Obama buddy fined for soliciting prostitute, Hawaii mayor kills no-bid police contract with campaign manager, pay raise, APEC, foreclosures, hospitals still on lawmakers' plate, PUC denies First Wind extension, reward for info on Kauai goat-killer, more Hawaii news

Kawaiaha‘o Church (c) 2011 All Hawaii News

Kawaiaha‘o Church resumed construction on a multipurpose building yesterday after making changes that include reducing the amount of ground excavation that could disturb unmarked graves. Star-Advertiser.

Work has resumed at Hawaii's oldest church and Christian cemetery for construction of a multi-purpose building. Associated Press.

Leaders of the so-called "birther" movement argued their case over President Barack Obama's U.S. citizenship before a federal appeals court Monday in Southern California, claiming the full birth certificate he released last week had been doctored. Associated Press.

President Obama awarded the nation's highest military decoration to a Maui solider who died on the battlefield while saving the men in his company. Hawaii News Now.

Obama honors Maui soldier killed in Korean war. Associated Press.

State lawmakers are scheduled to vote today on legislation to require hospitals in Hawaii to make public reports of health care-associated infections, a key measure in the industry's move toward improving health care. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii families in danger of losing their homes will be able to meet their lenders face-to-face in an attempt to avoid foreclosure, according to a broad overhaul of state foreclosure laws nearing approval. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, asked Hawaii lawmakers today to reconsider funding the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, which will attract leaders from around the world to Hawaii in November 2011. Hawaii Reporter.

Lawmakers Scramble To Avoid Pay Raise. A Bill To Extend 5% Pay Cut For State Officials Is One Of 120 Left Unfinished. KITV4.

A bold move to buy Oahu's only slaughterhouse may have failed. But lawmakers have found another way to help the struggling facility, opting to give it $750,000 in the state's capital improvement budget. Civil Beat.

The Public Utilities Commission has denied First Wind’s request for an eight-month extension to secure land and finalize details of an agreement on Molokai for a proposed 200 megawatt wind farm. Pacific Business News

Mayor Billy Kenoi late Monday put an end to a planned Police Department contract with his 2008 campaign manager after the no-bid project drew media scrutiny. West Hawaii Today.

Robert R. "Bobby" Titcomb, a close friend of President Barack Obama, accused of soliciting a prostitute in Kakaako, pleaded no contest and was fined $500 yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Maya Soetoro-Ng, President Barack Obama's sister, will speak at a town hall on education tomorrow at Kapiolani Community College. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Company crews restored power to roughly 60,000 customers affected by an outage caused by severe weather. Hawaii News Now.

There is a weather disturbance nearby that has triggered the thunderstorms, heavy rains and even hail on Kula, Maui. KHON2.

Longline fishermen are Hawaii's small boat commercial fishermen's No. 1 concern, followed by criticisms of the state's bottomfishing policies. West Hawaii Today.

A city bus driver who's admitted to reading a newspaper while driving a bus full of passengers won’t lose his job. KITV4.

Homeless people who've lived in vehicles and makeshift structures on Queen Street in Kakaako were cleared from the area Monday. KHON2.

In order to meet fire safety requirements, the state is on the move to build a new 12-inch water line and six-inch sewer line along Kaunakakai Place. Molokai Dispatch.

Sometime between dusk on Thursday and dawn on Friday, a pregnant goat from Kilauea’s Kunana Dairy was gutted and beheaded, her unborn kids dumped next to her insides, sources said Monday. Garden Island.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hawaii reacts to killing of Osama bin Laden, military boosts alert status, state spending up despite no money, counties get smaller share of hotel tax, university salaries lag, Merrie Monarch pau, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hanama Bay (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A free-diver found a military canister bobbing in the waters off Hanauma Bay yesterday morning, forcing hundreds of people to abandon the marine preserve. Star-Advertiser.

In timing that suggests a link with the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death, U.S. military installations in the Pacific raised their security level from Alpha on Sunday, the lowest level, to Bravo. Star-Advertiser.

The news of the death of the terrorist leader Osama bin Ladin stirred strong emotions on and off base. Security is understandably tight at Kaneohe Marine Base Hawaii. KITV4.

Hawaii officials react to news of Bin Laden's death. KHON2.

President Obama's stunning announcement Sunday about the death of 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, after a decade-long manhunt, drew swift reaction from Hawaii residents. Hawaii News Now.

Even though Hawaii's government is short on cash, it's budgeted spending is still rising. Associated Press.

Hawaii taxpayers are on the hook for about $600 million in new tax revenue to help pay for the state’s new two-year budget. Civil Beat.

Contractors Fear Tax Changes Will Hurt Business. KITV4.

A number of controversial measures died on Friday evening at the Hawaii State Legislature because lawmakers were unable to get their proposals passed out of conference committee before the 6 p.m. deadline. Hawaii Reporter.

Troubled over the long-term viability of the Employees' Retirement System, state lawmakers hope to make significant structural changes to reduce benefit costs for new public workers and stabilize the system over the next generation. Star-Advertiser.

Salaries for University of Hawaii and Chaminade University professors are well below those of many of their colleagues elsewhere in the country, a new survey shows. Associated Press.

County looks ‘OK’ despite cap on TAT. Maui News.

The state Legislature's decision to change how it distributes key state revenues will cost Hawaii County an estimated $1.37 million in the coming budget year, an aide to Mayor Billy Kenoi said Saturday. Tribune-Herald.

Auditor surprised by county’s skyrocketing electric bill in 2010. Garden Island.

As Pattern Energy begins taking action on Molokai to develop a wind farm, two groups are denouncing the Big Wind project, and calling for the neighbor island bidding process to start from scratch. Molokai News.

Hawaii's major hospitals are collaborating to launch the first statewide nurse residency program this summer in an effort to keep more registered nurses in the profession. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers agree that with the help of some sort of financing program, Hawaii residents would be able to easily purchase solar power and energy-saving appliances with no upfront cost. Hawaii Independent.

Rosen Auctions will auction off forfeited property for the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General Saturday, April 30, at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center’s Pikake Room. Pacific Business News

The county Board of Ethics has dismissed additional complaints against Maui County Council Member Mike White over his ties with the visitor industry, White's office announced Friday. Maui News.

Unable to afford its planned Keaau shopping center and unable to fill a bigger one, Puna's biggest private landowner is eying other locations while pursuing smaller developments. Tribune-Herald.

The 48th Merrie Monarch Festival ended Saturday night with musical tributes to the beauty of the islands, the tenderness of love in full bloom and homages aplenty to the last royals of Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.